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Favourable draws for Team GB at Olympics
English Open Press Release
OLYMPICS: Favourable draw for Team GB table tennis
English Table Tennis Association
Men and women both face eighth seeds while Drinkhall and Parker
The singles draws were also made with both Paul Drinkhall and Joanna Parker seeded for a first round entry meaning they will face one of the preliminary round winners.
Four-times National Champion Drinkhall (107) will play either Ibrahem Al-Hasan (WR 228) from Kuwait or Saheed Idowu from DR Congo. Neither player is seen regularly on the international circuit but Drinkhall did play Al-Hasan five years ago when he beat him. If he wins the first round match he will faze Yang Zi (54) from Singapore in the second round.
His partner Joanna Parker (119) also received a favourable draw in her first round fixture as she faces either Brazil’s Caroline Kumahara (192) or Djibouti’s Yasmin Farah (unranked). If she wins that match, Parker will play in the second round against Germany’s Kristin Silbereisen (47).
With both the British men and women’s teams seeded 13th for the Olympic Games, their respective draws against Portugal and DPR Korea were the best draws they could have hoped for as the top eight seeds faced the bottom eight seeds.
Men’s Singles First Round: Saturday 28th July 16:45
Women’s Singles First Round: Saturday 28th July 12:00
Men’s Team round of 16: Friday 3rd August 19:00
Women’s Team round of 16: Friday 3rd August 19:00
Andrew Baggaley said: “For me personally superstitions are entirely irrelevant! It's all about preparing in exactly the same way as I would for any important competition and not trying to do things differently despite the magnitude of the event. My preparations will follow the same routines that ensure I am at peak physical and mental strength to perform at my top level. I believe my single minded mental strength on and off the table is my biggest attribute! Regardless of a player's status in the game, if I am in a position where I am close to victory, I always believe I will win!”
Matthew Syed said: “Mental toughness will be absolutely key. It is difficult enough playing in an Olympics, where 4 years of hard graft is distilled into a single competition, but a home Olympics is even more pressurised. This is a once in a lifetime chance to play in the most important competition on earth on home soil. It will take composure, steeliness and focus.”
Paul Drinkhall said: “Every match is hard here but it’s a good draw and a chance to get through to the next round. I played him five years ago at a junior tournament but it’s not that relevant now.
We’ve got the eighth seeds so it’s a good draw. Obviously they will all be strong but we’ve played these guys before and we know we can beat them if we all play well.
I’m expected to win the first round in the singles on paper and then go out in the second round but I’m not going to say that’s what’s going to happen. Obviously there’s pressure when you’re expected to win but at the end of the day I’m going to take one game at a time and see how far I can get.”
English Table Tennis Association
Table tennis has over 300 million participants worldwide, making it one of the world’s highest participation sports.
Some 2.4 million people play table tennis within the UK (British Market Research Bureau).
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